The fourth grade teachers at Fletcher Elementary School have been taking steps to provide additional opportunities to educate their students on Native American history and culture. Last week, their students welcomed Native American guest speaker, Mr. Dave Ruch, who spoke to over 100 fourth grade students about the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people.
Mr. Ruch is a Native American speaker and singer, leading students on a fun-filled musical journey into history through use of his guitar and some traditional Haudenosaunee instruments.
As part of their social studies curriculum, students have spent the past month learning about Native American history and culture indigenous to our area. The interview with Mr. Ruch was the culmination of their unit which also included creating and playing Native American designed “drums” students made of shoe boxes in their music class.
During the interview, Mr. Ruch spoke about the Iroquois people including the Iroquois’ use of their surroundings to meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. Students were able to ask a variety of questions to Mr. Ruch and each fourth grade class was able to participate in the interview within their own classroom through a shared Skype session which was projected over the classroom’s SmartBoard. Mr. Ruch’s pride for his culture was strongly reflected back in the student interest generated as students became captivated in the songs and stories Mr. Ruch shared.
Following the presentation, many students now have a deeper appreciation of Native American history and culture thanks to the teachings and songs shared by Mr. Ruch.